Christmas In Afghanistan

1 Leave a comment on verse 1 0 Christmas in Afghanistan
Christmas in Iraq
Another Christmas wondering
will your son come back?
will your daughter make it home
will you catch her smile
they’ve been there in sand and war
fighting all this while
while we write our football poems
while we chat with friends
all the time it’s going on
tell me where it ends?

2 Leave a comment on verse 2 0 one brave sergeant contemplates*
how the Taliban
might respond to playing
there in no-man’s land
as they did so long ago
with their foe and brother
Christmas rears it head again
just like ev’ry other
and here in Wootton Bassett
this little town nearby
a cortege brings the 100th son
and tears to every eye

3 Leave a comment on verse 3 0 we’d love to think naively
that football might entwine
our soldiers and our battered hosts
as in that long-gone time
but just like all those years ago
we find ourselves again
involved in this embittered war
destroying fellow men

4 Leave a comment on verse 4 0 no Christmas truce nor sharing bread
no trench nor gun-less team
could turn this endless nightmare
into some yuletide dream
think then as you tune in or watch
some festive Christmas game
that for so many miles away
it cannot be the same

5 Leave a comment on verse 5 0 this game we love reminds us how
we’re so far from it all
whatever faith we’ll always be
just creatures great and small
whatever thoughts we have of war
whatever we believe
you heart goes out to all who love
who lose who cry who grieve


(Revised from Christmas In Iraq 2006)
* I came across an article on the web by a Sgt Whalley in Helmund who was comparing the sandy wasteland trenches to those of the First World War….and was actually contemplating, but only for a second, the response they’d get if they asked The Taliban for a game on Christmas Day.

How long this war…how many these mounting lives ?

*Early forms of the game of football in Iraq can be traced as far back as 4,000 years ago through the trade relations between Mesopotamia, which means “the land between two rivers” in Greek and the ancient Chinese civilisation, where one of the earliest forms of football, known as “cuju” or “to kick a ball” was first understood to have began. Their has been some evidence of modern football having been played in Iraq in the 1800s or even earlier, this comes from a painting found by Iraqi historians in the city of Nafar, west of Afak in the province of Al-Qadissiya (then known as Al-Diwaniya) in 1977. The historians placed the date of the painting, which consisted of a standing human being and in front of him was a another person with a ball in the motion of kicking the ball, in the era of the 19th century, this painting demonstrated that football was being played before the British Mandate in 1914.

Source: http://footballpoets.org/poems/christmas-in-afghanistan/